Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons.)


Department of English


The work of Singaporean writer Catherine Lim reflects the cultural and political change that has taken place in Singapore since its inception as a British tradingpost in 1819, until its emergence in 1965 as an independent nation controlled by the dominant Chinese sector of the population. Lim's stories of traditional Chinese/Singaporean life in the colonial period, are juxtaposed with stories of modem westernized Singaporean life, and this dichotomy parallels the narrative of Singapore itself The Singapore government's attempts to construct a Singaporean 'national identity' based upon Chinese Confucian 'values' of home and family are interrogated by Lim when her characters are faced with the conflicting demands of traditionalism and modernity. These competing 'values' create areas of conflict that are integral to the cultural negotiation taking place in both text and nation.